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17ARMER  MEANWELL  was  at  one  time  a  very  rich 
man.  He  owned  large  fields,  and  had  fine  flocks  of 
sheep,  and  plenty  of  money.  But  all  at  once  his  good  for- 
tune seemed  to  desert  him.  Year  after  year  his  crops  failed, 
his  sheep  died  off,  and  he  was  obliged  to  borrow  money  to 
pay  his  rent  and  the  wages  of  those  who  worked  on  the 

At  last  he  had  to  sell  his  farm,  but  even  this  did  not  bring 
him  in  money  enough  to  pay  his  debts,  and  he  was  worse  off 
than  ever. 

.    Among  those  who  had  lent  money  to   Farmer  Mean  well 
were  Sir  Thomas  Gripe,  and  a  Farmer  named  Graspall. 

Sir  Thomas  was  a  very  rich  man  indeed,  and  Farmer 
Graspall  had  more  money  than  he  could  possibly  use.  But 
they  were  both  very  greedy  and  covetous,  and  particularly 
hard  on  those  who  owed  them  anything.  Farmer  Graspall 
abused  Farmer  Meanwell  and  called  him  all  sorts  of  dreadful 
names ;  but  the  rich  Sir  Thomas  Gripe  was  more  cruel  still, 
and  wanted  the  poor  debtor  shut  up  in  jail. 

So  poor  Farmer  Meanwell  had  to  hasten  from  the  place 
where  he  had  lived  for  so  many  years,  in  order  to  get  out  of 
the  way  of  these  greedy  men. 

He  went  to  the  next  village,  taking  his  wife  and  his  two 
little  children  with  him.  But  though  he  was  free  from  Gripe 
and  Graspall  she  was  not  free  from  trouble  and  care. 

He  soon  fell  ill,  and  when  he  found  himself  unable  to  get 


food  and  clothes  for  his  family,  he  grew  worse  and  worse  and 
soon  died. 

His  wife  could  not  bear  the  loss  of  her  husband,  whom 
she  loved  so  dearly,  and  in  a  few  days  she  was  dead. 

The  two  orphan  children  seemed  to  be  left  entirely  alone 
in  the  world,  with  no  one  to  look  after  them,  or  care  for  them, 
but  their  Heavenly  Father. 

They  trotted  around  hand  in  hand,  and  the  poorer  they 
became  the  more  they  clung  to  each  other  Poor,  ragged, 
and  hungry  enough  they  were ! 

Tommy  had  two  shoes,  but  Margery  went  barefoot.  They 
had  nothing  to  eat  but  the  berries  that  grew  in  the  woods, 
and  the  scraps  they  could  get  from  the  poor  people  in  the 
village,  and  at  night  they  slept  in  barns  or  under  hay-stacks. 

Their  rich  relations  were  too  proud  to  notice  them.  But 
Mr.  Smith,  the  clergyman  of  the  village  where  the  children 
were  born,  was  not  that  sort  of  a  man.  A  rich  relation  came 
to  visit  him — a  kind-hearted  gentleman — and  the  clergyman 
told  him  all  about  Tommy  and  Margery.  The  kind 
gentleman  pitied  them,  and  ordered  Margery  a  pair  of  shoes 
and  gave  Mr.  Smith  money  to  buy  her  some  clothes, 
which  she  needed  sadly.  As  for  Tommy  he  said  he  would 
take  him  off  to  sea  with  him  and  make  him  a  sailor.  After  a 
few  days,  the  gentleman  said  he  must  go  to  London  and 
would  take  Tommy  with  him,  and  sad  was  the  parting 
between  the  two  children. 

Poor  Margery  was  very  lonely  indeed,  without  her 
brother,  and  might  have  cried  herself  sick  but  for  the  new 
shoes  that  were  brought  home  to  her. 

They  turned  her  thoughts  from  her  grief;   and  as  soon  as 


she  had  put  them  on  she  ran  in  to  Mrs.  Smith  and  cried  out: 
"Two  shoes,  ma'am,  two  shoes!"  These  words  she  re- 
peated to  every  one  she  met,  and  thus  it  was  she  got  the 
name  of  Goody  Two  Shoes 

Little  Margery  had  seen  now  good  and  wise  Mr.  Smith 
was,  and  thought  it  was  because  of  his  great  learning  ;  and 
she  wanted,  above  all  things,  to  learn  to  read.  At  last  she 
made  up  her  mind  to  ask  Mr.  Smith  to  teach  her  when  he 
had  a  moment  to  spare.  He  readily  agreed  to  do  this,  and 
Margery  read  to  him  an  hour  every  day,  and  spent  much 
time  with  her  books. 

Then  she  laid  out  a  plan  for  teaching  others  more  ignorant 
than  herself.     She  cut  out  of  thin  pieces  of  wood  ten  sets  of 
large  and  small  letters  of  the  alphabet,  and  carried  these  with 
her  when  she  went  from  house  to  house.     When  she  came 
to  Billy  Wilson's  she  threw  down  the  letters  all  in  a  heap, 
and  Billy  picked  them  out  and  sorted  them  in  lines,  thus : 
abed     efghij     k, 
and  so  on  until  all  the  letters  were  in  their  right  places. 

From  there  Goody  Two  Shoes  trotted  off  to  another 
cottage,  and  here  were  several  children  waiting  for  her.  As 
soon  as  the  little  girl  came  in  they  all  crowded  around  her, 
and  were  eager  to  begin  their  lessons  at  once. 

Then  she  threw  the  letters  down  and  said  to  the  boy  next 
her,  "  What  did  you  have  for  dinner  to-day?"  "Bread," 
answered  the  little  boy.  "  Well,  put  down  the  first  letter," 
said  Goody  Two  Shoes.  Then  he  put  down  B,  and  the  next 
child  R,  and  the. next  E,  and  the  next  A,  and  the  next  D, 
and  there  was  the  wole  word — BREAD. 


"  What  did  you  have  for  dinner,  Polly  Driggs  ?  " 

"  Apple-pie,"  said  Polly ;  upon  which  she  laid  down  the 
first  letter,  A,  and  the  next  put  down  a  P,  and  the  next 
another  P,  and  so  on  until  the  words  Apple  and  Pie  were 
united,  and  stood  thus:  APPLE  PIE. 

Now  it  happened  one  evening  that  Goody  Two  Shoes  was 
going  home  rather  late.  She  had  made  a  longer  round 
than  usual,  and  everybody  had  kept  her  waiting,  so  that 
night  came  on  before  her  day's  work  was  done.  Right 
glad  was  she  to  set  out  for  her  own  home,  and  she  walked 
along  contentedly  through  the  fields,  and  lanes,  and  roads, 
enjoying  the  quiet  evening.  The  evening  was  not  cool, 
however,  but  close  and  sultry,  and  betokened  a  storm.  Pres- 
ently a  drop  fell  on  Goody's  face.  What  should  she  do?  If 
she  did  not  make  haste  she  would  soon  be  wet  to  the  skin. 

Fortunately  there  was  an  old  barn  down  the  road,  in  which 
she  could  find  shelter,  and  Goody  Two  Shoes  gathered  her 
skirts  about  her  and  took  to  her  heels,  and  ran  as  if  some- 
body was  after  her.  The  owner  of  the  barn  had  died  lately, 
and  the  property  was  to  be  sold,  and  there  was  a  lot  of  loose 
hay  on  the  floor  which  had  not  yet  been  taken  away. 

Goody  Two  Shoes  cuddled  down  in  the  soft  hay,  glad  of 
a  chance  to  rest  her  weary  limbs,  and  quite  out  of  breath 
with  her  long  run ;  and  just  then  down  rattled  the  rain,  the 
thunder  roared,  the  lightning  flashed,  and  the  old  barn 
trembled,  and  so  did  Goody  Two  Shoes. 

She  had  not  been  there  long  before  she  heard  footsteps, 
and  three  men  came  into  the  barn  for  shelter.  The  hay  was 
piled  up  between  her  and  them,  so  that  they  could  not  see 
her,  and,  thinking  they  were  alone,  they  spoke  quite  loudly. 


They  were  plotting  to  rob  Squire  Trueman,  who  lived  in 
the  great  house  in  Margery's  village,  and  were  to  break  in 
and  steal  all  they  could  that  very  night.  This  was  quite 
enough  for  Goody  Two  Shoes.  She  waited  for  nothing,  but 
dashed  out  of  the  barn,  and  ran  through  rain  and  mud  till  she 
came  to  the  Squire's  house. 

He  was  at  dinner  with  some  friends,  and  any  one  else  but 
Goody  would  have  found  it  difficult  to  gain  admission  to  him. 
But  she  was  well  known  to  the  servants,  and  was  so  kind 
and  obliging,  that  even  the  big  fat  butler  could  not  refuse  to 
do  her  bidding,  and  went  and  told  the  squire  that  Goody 
Two  Shoes  wished  very  much  to  see  him. 

So  the  squire  asked  his  friends  to  excuse  him  for  a 
moment,  and  came  out  and  said,  "Well,  Goody  Two  Shoes, 
my  good  girl,  what  is  it?"  "Oh,  sir,"  she  replied,  "if  you 
do  not  take  care  you  will  be  robbed  and  murdered  this  very 

Then  she  told  all  she  had  heard  the  men  say  while  she 
was  in  the  barn. 

The  squire  saw  there  was  not  a  moment  to  lose,  so  he 
went  back  and  told  his  friends  the  news  he  had  heard.  They 
.all  said  they  would  stay  and  help  him  take  the  thieves.  So 
the  lights  were  put  out,  to  make  it  appear  as  if  all  the  people 
in  the  house  were  in  bed,  and  servants  and  all  kept  a  close 
watch  both  inside  and  outside. 

Sure  enough,  at  about  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  the 
three  men  came  creeping,  creeping  up  to  the  house  with  a 
dark  lantern,  and  the  tools  to  break  in  with.  Before  they 
were  aware,  six  men  sprang  out  on  them,  and  held  them  fast. 
The  thieves  struggled  in  vain  to  get  away.  They  were 


locked  in  an  out-house  until  daylight,  when  a  cart  came  and 
took  them  off  to  jail. 

They  were  afterward  sent  out  of  the  country,  where  they 
had  to  work  in  chains  on  the  roads ;  and  it  is  said  that  one 
of  them  behaved  so  well  that  he  was  pardoned,  and  went  to 
live  at  Australia,  where  he  became  a  rich  man. 

The  other  two  went  from  bad  to  worse,  and  it  is  likely 
that  they  came  to  some  dreadful  end.  For  sin  never  goes 

But  to  return  to  Goody  Two  Shoes.  One  day  as  she  was 
walking  through  the  village  she  saw  some  wicked  boys  with 
a  raven,  at  which  they  were  going  to  throw  stones.  To  stop 
this  cruel  sport  she  gave  the  boys  a  penny  for  the  raven, 
and  brought  the  bird  home  with  her.  She  gave  him  the 
name  of  "  Ralph,"and  he  proved  to  be  a  very  clever  creature 
indeed.  She  taught  him  to  spell,  and  to  read,  and  he  was 
so  fond  of  playing  with  the  large  letters,  that  the  children 
called  them  "  Ralph's  Alphabet." 

Some  days  after  Goody  had  met  with  the  raven,  she  was 
passing  through  a  field,  when  she  saw  some  naughty  boys 
who  had  taken  a  pigeon,  and  tied  a  string  to  its  legs  in  order 
to  let  it  fly  and  draw  it  back  again  when  they  pleased. 

Goody  could  not  bear  to  see  anything  tortured  like  that,  so 
she  bought  the  pigeon  from  the  boys  and  taught  him  how  to 
spell  and  read.  But  he  could  not  talk.  And  as  Ralph,  the 
raven,  took  the  large  letters,  Peter,  the  pigeon,  took  care  of 
the  small  ones. 

Mrs.  Williams,  who  lived  in  Margery's  village,  kept 
school,  and  taught  little  ones  their  A  B  C's.  She  was  now 
old  and  feeble,  and  wanted  to  give  up  this  important  trust. 


This  being  known  to  Sir  William  Dove,  he  asked  Mrs. 
Williams  to  examine  Goody  Two  Shoes  and  see  if  she  was 
not  clever  enough  for  the  office.  This  was  done,  and  Mrs. 
Williams  reported  that  little  Margery  was  the  best  scholar, 
and  had  the  best  heart  of  any  one  she  had  ever  examined. 
All  the  country  had  a  great  opinion  of  Mrs.  Williams,  and 
this  report  made  them  think  highly  of  Miss  MARGERY,  as  we 
must  now  call  her. 

So  Margery  Meanwell  was  now  a  schoolmistress,  and  a 
capital  one  she  made.  The  children  all  loved  her,  for  she 
was  never  weary  of  making  plans  for  their  happiness. 

The  room  in  which  she  taught  was  large  and  lofty,  and 
there  was  plenty  of  fresh  air  in  it ;  and  as  she  knew  that 
children  liked  to  move  about,  she  placed  her  sets  of  letters  all 
round  the  school,  so  that  every  one  was  obliged  to  get  up  to 
find  a  letter,  or  spell  a  word,  when  it  came  their  turn. 

This  exercise  not  only  kept  the  children  in  good  health, 
but  fixed  the  letters  firmly  in  their  minds. 

The  neighbors  were  very  good  to  her,  and  one  of  them 
made  her  a  present  of  a  little  skylark,  whose  early  morning 
song  told  the  lazy  boys  and  girls  that  it  was  time  they  were 
out  of  bed. 

Some  time  after  this  a  poor  lamb  lost  its  dam,  and  the 
farmer  being  about  to  kill  it,  she  bought  it  of  him,  and 
brought  it  home  to  play  with  the  children. 

Soon  after  this  a  present  was  made  to  Miss  Margery  of  a 
dog,  and  as  he  was  always  in  good  humor,  and  always  jump- 
ing about,  the  children  gave  him  the  name  of  Jumper.  It 
was  his  duty  to  guard  the  door,  and  no  one  could  go  out  or 
come  in  without  leave  from  his  mistress. 


Margery  was  so  wise  and  good  that  some  foolish  people 
accused  her  of  being  a  witch,  and  she  was  taken  to  court 
and  tried  before  the  judge.  She  soon  proved  that  she  was 
a  most  sensible  woman,  and  Sir  Charles  Jones  was  so 
pleased  with  her,  that  he  offered  her  a  large  sum  of  money 
to  take  care  of  his  family,  and  educate  his  daughter.  At 
first  she  refused,  but  afterwards  went  and  behaved  so  well, 
and  was  so  kind  and  tender,  that  Sir  Charles  would  not 
permit  her  to  leave  the  house,  and  soon  after  made  her  an 
offer  of  marriage. 

The  neighbors  came  in  crowds  to  the  wedding,  and  all 
were  glad  that  one  who  had  been  such  a  good  girl,  and  had 
grown  up  such  a  good  woman,  was  to  become  a  grand 

Just  as  the  clergyman  had  opened  his  book,  a  gentleman, 
richly  dressed,  ran  into  the  church  and  cried,  "  Stop !  stop  I" 

Great  alarm  was  felt,  especially  by  the  bride  and  groom, 
with  whom  he  said  he  wished  to  speak  privately. 

Sir  Charles  stood  motionless  with  surprise,  and  the  bride 
fainted  away  in  the  stranger's  arms.  For  this  richly-dressed 
gentleman  turned  out  to  be  little  Tommy  Meanwell,  who 
had  just  come  from  sea,  where  he  had  made  a  large  fortune. 

Sir  Charles  and  Lady  Jones  lived  very  happily  together, 
and  the  great  lady  did  not  forget  the  children,  but  was  just 
as  good  to  them  as  she  had  always  been.  She  was  also 
kind  and  good  to  the  poor,  and  the  sick,  and  a  friend  to  all 
who  were  in  distress.  Her  life  was  a  great  blessing,  and  her 
death  the  greatest  calamity  that  ever  took  place  in  the 
neighborhood  where  she  lived,  and  was  known  as